|Publication number||US9449472 B2|
|Application number||US 14/619,679|
|Publication date||20 Sep 2016|
|Filing date||11 Feb 2015|
|Priority date||8 Nov 2007|
|Also published as||US8979637, US8979657, US9361766, US20110009187, US20110130192, US20150141129, US20150154835, US20160371938, WO2009061386A1, WO2009061696A1|
|Publication number||14619679, 619679, US 9449472 B2, US 9449472B2, US-B2-9449472, US9449472 B2, US9449472B2|
|Inventors||Michael W. Mastropietro|
|Original Assignee||Bally Gaming, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (63), Non-Patent Citations (2), Classifications (9), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates generally to gaming apparatus, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming system and method which employs event eligibility-based equity.
Gaming terminals, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options.
Gaming terminals employ various types of event eligibility-based equity or credits. Some wagering games, for example, grant blocks of time during which the player is eligible for a bonus game. The player is granted these blocks of time based on various play characteristics, such as amount of wager, the amount of wager in a predetermined time period, and the like. One such wagering game is disclosed in PCT Published Application WO/2006/121663 to Anderson et al, entitled “Wagering Game with Time-Based Bonus” and assigned to WMS Gaming Inc., which is hereby incorporated in its entirety as if fully set forth herein.
Another type of event eligibility-based equity employed in gaming terminals are granting of entries or tickets in a lottery type game. In a general, a player is provided a number of entries in a lottery type game based on various play characteristics, such as maintaining a certain amount of time of play, wagering a certain amount and the like.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
The illustrated gaming terminal 10 comprises a cabinet or housing 12. For output devices, the gaming terminal 10 may include a primary display area 14, a secondary display area 16, and one or more audio speakers 18. The primary display area 14 and/or secondary display area 16 may display information associated with wagering games, non-wagering games, community games, progressives, advertisements, services, premium entertainment, text messaging, emails, alerts or announcements, broadcast information, subscription information, etc. For input devices, the gaming terminal 10 may include a bill validator 20, a coin acceptor 22, one or more information readers 24, one or more player-input devices 26, and one or more player-accessible ports 28 (e.g., an audio output jack for headphones, a video headset jack, a wireless transmitter/receiver, etc.). While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other peripheral devices and other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal.
The primary display area 14 may include a mechanical-reel display, a video display, or a combination thereof in which a transmissive video display in front of the mechanical-reel display portrays a video image superimposed over the mechanical-reel display. Further information concerning the latter construction is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,517,433 to Loose et al. entitled “Reel Spinning Slot Machine With Superimposed Video Image,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The video display may be a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, a light emitting diode (LED), a DLP projection display, an electroluminescent (EL) panel, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10. The primary display area 14 may include one or more paylines 30 (see
Video images in the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 may be rendered in two-dimensional (e.g., using Flash Macromedia™) or three-dimensional graphics (e.g., using Renderware™). The images may be played back (e.g., from a recording stored on the gaming terminal 10), streamed (e.g., from a gaming network), or received as a TV signal (e.g., either broadcast or via cable). The images may be animated or they may be real-life images, either prerecorded (e.g., in the case of marketing/promotional material) or as live footage, and the format of the video images may be an analog format, a standard digital format, or a high-definition (HD) digital format.
The player-input devices 26 may include a plurality of buttons 36 on a button panel and/or a touch screen 38 mounted over the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 and having one or more soft touch keys 40. The player-input devices 26 may further comprise technologies that do not rely upon touching the gaming terminal, such as speech-recognition technology, gesture-sensing technology, eye-tracking technology, etc.
The information reader 24 is preferably located on the front of the housing 12 and may take on many forms such as a ticket reader, card reader, bar code scanner, wireless transceiver (e.g., RFID, Bluetooth, etc.), biometric reader, or computer-readable-storage-medium interface. Information may be transmitted between a portable medium (e.g., ticket, voucher, coupon, casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card, etc.) and the information reader 24 for accessing an account associated with cashless gaming, player tracking, game customization, saved-game state, data transfer, and casino services as more fully disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0045354 entitled “Portable Data Unit for Communicating With Gaming Machine Over Wireless Link,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The account may be stored at an external system 46 (see
Turning now to
The controller 42 is coupled to the system memory 44 and also to a money/credit detector 48. The system memory 44 may comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM). The system memory 44 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 48 signals the processor that money and/or credits have been input via a value-input device, such as the bill validator 20, coin acceptor 22, or via other sources, such as a cashless gaming account, etc. These components may be located internal or external to the housing 12 of the gaming terminal 10 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming terminal 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods. The money/credit detector 48 detects the input of funds into the gaming terminal 10 (e.g., via currency, electronic funds, ticket, card, etc.) that are generally converted into a credit balance available to the player for wagering on the gaming terminal 10. The credit detector 48 detects when a player places a wager (e.g., via a player-input device 26) to play the wagering game, the wager then generally being deducted from the credit balance. The money/credit detector 48 sends a communication to the controller 42 that a wager has been detected and also communicates the amount of the wager.
As seen in
Communications between the controller 42 and both the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the external system 46 occur through input/output (I/O) circuit 56, which can include any suitable bus technologies, such as an AGTL+frontside bus and a PCI backside bus. Although the I/O circuit 56 is shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuit 56 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the components of the gaming terminal 10 can be interconnected according to any suitable interconnection architecture (e.g., directly connected, hypercube, etc.).
The I/O circuit 56 is connected to an external system interface 58, which is connected to the external system 46. The controller 42 communicates with the external system 46 via the external system interface 58 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10bT, etc.). The external system 46 may include a gaming network, other gaming terminals, a gaming server, a remote controller, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components.
Controller 42, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of the gaming terminal 10 and may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming terminal 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 42 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In
The gaming terminal 10 may communicate with external system 46 (in a wired or wireless manner) such that each terminal operates as a “thin client” having relatively less functionality, a “thick client” having relatively more functionality, or with any range of functionality therebetween (e.g., a “rich client”). In general, a wagering game includes an RNG for generating a random number, game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number, and game assets (e.g., art, sound, etc.) for presenting the determined outcome to a player in an audio-visual manner. The RNG, game logic, and game assets may be contained within the gaming terminal 10 (“thick client” gaming terminal), the external systems 46 (“thin client” gaming terminal), or distributed therebetween in any suitable manner (“rich client” gaming terminal).
Referring now to
The basic-game screen 60 may be displayed on the primary display area 14 or a portion thereof. In
In the illustrated embodiment, the game-session meters include a “credit” meter 64 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the terminal; a “lines” meter 66 for displaying a number of paylines to be played by a player on the terminal; a “line bet” meter 68 for displaying a number of credits wagered (e.g., from 1 to 5 or more credits) for each of the number of paylines played; a “total bet” meter 70 for displaying a total number of credits wagered for the particular round of wagering; and a “paid” meter 72 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular round's wager. The user-selectable buttons may include a “collect” button 74 to collect the credits remaining in the credits meter 64; a “help” button 76 for viewing instructions on how to play the wagering game; a “pay table” button 78 for viewing a pay table associated with the basic wagering game; a “select lines” button 80 for changing the number of paylines (displayed in the lines meter 66) a player wishes to play; a “bet per line” button 82 for changing the amount of the wager which is displayed in the line-bet meter 68; a “spin reels” button 84 for moving the reels 62 a-e; and a “max bet spin” button 86 for wagering a maximum number of credits and moving the reels 62 a-e of the basic wagering game. While the gaming terminal 10 allows for these types of player inputs, the present invention does not require them and can be used on gaming terminals having more, less, or different player inputs.
Paylines 30 may extend from one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the left side of the basic-game screen 60 to a corresponding one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the right side of the screen 60. A plurality of symbols 90 is displayed on the plurality of reels 62 a-e to indicate possible outcomes of the basic wagering game. A winning combination occurs when the displayed symbols 90 correspond to one of the winning symbol combinations listed in a pay table stored in the memory 44 of the terminal 10 or in the external system 46. The symbols 90 may include any appropriate graphical representation or animation, and may further include a “blank” symbol.
Symbol combinations may be evaluated as line pays or scatter pays. Line pays may be evaluated left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or any combination thereof by evaluating the number, type, or order of symbols 90 appearing along an activated payline 30. Scatter pays are evaluated without regard to position or paylines and only require that such combination appears anywhere on the reels 62 a-e. While an embodiment with nine paylines is shown, a wagering game with no paylines, a single payline, or any plurality of paylines will also work with the present invention. Additionally, though an embodiment with five reels is shown, a gaming terminal with any plurality of reels may also be used in accordance with the present invention.
A player may earn event eligibility-based equity while playing the wagering game. For example, the player may accrue time eligibility based equity, or time slices, for a bonus wagering game when triggered. The event eligibility of the player may be determined using a number of criteria. In one embodiment, eligibility for participation in the bonus wagering game comprises the player having a positive time balance in an eligibility and trigger meter at such time that the bonus wagering game is triggered. One such mechanism which may be used to both trigger the bonus wagering game and determine eligibility therefore is a time-based triggering mechanism which is described in above incorporated PCT Published Application WO/2006/121663 to Anderson et al, entitled “Wagering Game with Time-Based Bonus”.
Many other triggering mechanisms and eligibility criteria may be used. For example, event eligibility-based equity may be awarded dependent upon the player wagering a certain minimum amount, maintaining a certain amount of time of play, maintaining at least a predetermined average wager, having a certain number of player points, reaching a certain level of a game, etc. A player may also purchase event eligibility-based equity which may be used in multiple wagering games. Event eligibility-based equity may also comprise entries in a standard lottery in which a player is assigned one or more numbers or entries, and then at a later time one or more numbers are picked and compared for matches, with some matching criteria being used to determine a win. Event eligibility-based equity may comprise any non-cash based equity which provides a player with eligibility for gaming options in a wagering game.
With respect to event eligibility-based equity, the controller 42, the system memory 44, the money/credit detector 48 and the external system 46, either singly or in combination, may comprise an award system, or means, for awarding or providing a first event eligibility-based equity relative to a first wagering game and a converter system, or means, for transforming the first event eligibility-based equity to an exchange medium. The exchange medium may be cash, first event eligibility-based equity or second event eligibility-based equity. Although only first and second event eligibility-based equity will be discussed herein, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the first event eligibility-based equity may be transformed or converted into any number of other event eligibility-based equity for play on any other number of wagering games.
The exchange medium may be stored on a player information device which communicates with the information reader 24. The player information device may comprise a ticket, voucher, coupon, casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card and the like. The exchange medium may be stored in the controller 42, the external system 46 or any external server in communication with first and second wagering games. The exchange medium may contain credits relating to first or second event eligibility-based equity such that the player may use on respective first and second wagering games. Further, one or more computer readable storage media may be encoded with instructions for directing the gaming system to perform a method of storing the first event eligibility-based event equity relative to a first wagering game and converting the first event eligibility-based event equity to the exchange medium.
Referring now to
At step 402, a wager input is received from the player. A determination at step 404 is made whether any time slices are available. If not in step 406, then the player is not eligible for the bonus event. If there are time slices available, it is determined, in step 408 whether the bonus event should be triggered. If yes, at step 410, game process (discussed below with respect to
A bonus multiplier, which may be a function of the amount wagered with respect to time, is applied to base amounts awarded in the bonus event. For example, a slot base game may include 20 paylines. The player makes a wager of 20 credits, wherein a spin of the slot reels covers all 20 paylines at 1 credit per payline. For the player to receive a 1× bonus multiplier for 5 seconds, each time slice must be 250 milliseconds (“ms”) long (5 seconds/20 credits=250 ms). Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the bonus multiplier may be awarded to a player when any number of conditions are obtained and that the multiplier may be greater than 1×.
Thus in the above example, each credit buys 1 time slice of eligibility for the bonus event. At every time slice interval, the process 400 thus determines whether a bonus event should be triggered and the number of time slices that the player has accumulated is updated. Although the above example provides time slices being purchased by the player, it should be appreciated that time slices may be obtained by the player via a number of methods, including winning time slices, obtaining a predetermined condition, and the like.
Time slice duration may be determined by a number of methods. For example, if a time-based bonus game is to take up to 10% of the total return of a wagering game, then each time slice should have an Expected Value (“EV”) of 0.1 credits as shown in Equation 1. A time slice in this example is purchased for 1 credit.
10% of 1 credit=0.1 credits EQUATION 1
In addition, the EV of each time slice may be determined as follows:
EV of a time slice=(Chance of the bonus)×(EV of the bonus) EQUATION 2
The EV of each time slice may then be used to calculate an event eligibility-based equity amount that may be stored and/or transferred in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. For example, a first wagering game may have a time-based bonus game that is to take up to 10% of the total return of the first wagering game. Therefore, as noted above, the EV of a first time slice is 0.1 credits. Now assume that a player wishes to transfer the first time slices to a second wagering game. The second wagering game may have a time-based bonus game that is to take up to 20% of the total return of the second wagering game. Using EQUATION 1 above, the EV of a second time slice is 0.2 credits. Therefore, the player will receive one second time slice for two of the first time slices. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the time slices may be exchanged for other event eligibility-based equity or cash.
Time slices can be purchased according to fixed determinations, e.g. a single wager purchases a 250 ms. time slice. Alternatively, time slices can be purchased according to random determinations. For example, a first wager purchases a 250 ms. time slice while a second wager purchases a 300 ms. time slice.
Time slices may be incremented and/or decremented according to fixed determinations, e.g., a 250 ms. time slice is incremented and/or decremented every 250 ms. of real time. Alternatively, time slices may be randomly incremented and/or decremented. For example, random interrupt signals may be sent by the controller 34 for randomly incrementing and/or decrementing the time slices.
Referring now to
The gaming machine 504, at step 610, makes a determination whether the community bonus has been triggered by the issuance of the bonus invitation at step 608. If no bonus invitation has been received, the gaming machine 504 continues playing a local game at step 612. If a bonus invitation has been received, the gaming machine 504, at step 614, obtains the current multiplier. If the gaming machine 504 does not have any eligible time, or event eligibility-based credit, then the multiplier is zero and the gaming machine 504 cannot participate in the community bonus. If the gaming machine 504 has eligible time, the gaming machine 504 at step 616 plays the community bonus. After the community bonus ends, the local game resumes at step 612.
A time-slice, or event eligibility-based, process for the gaming machine 504 continues generally simultaneously with the game process. At step 618, a time slice of eligibility is decremented after an equivalent unit of real time progresses, e.g. a time slice of 250 ms. is decremented after 250 ms. of time has passed in real time. If the player continues to make wagers, then it is possible for the time slices to increment (e.g., if the player makes wagers at a higher rate than he/she is currently playing games), or to remain constant. Then, at step 620 a multiplier and/or display indicator are updated as a function of the current eligibility. At step 622, the gaming machine 504 waits until it is necessary to update the eligibility time, or event eligibility-based credit.
Referring now to
The player may obtain the converted cash, first event eligibility-based equity or the second event eligibility-based equity through any number of appropriate methods, such as may be associated with a ticket (from a ticket printer 52), portable data unit (e.g., a card), coins, currency bills, accounts, and the like. The converted case, first event eligibility-based equity and the second event eligibility-based equity may be stored in a storage device, such as a system processor.
The player is thus able to transfer event eligibility-based equity from one wagering game to another wagering game, to store event eligibility-based equity for later play or to cash out the event eligibility-based equity. The player has the option of converting event eligibility-based equity from a first wagering game to a second wagering game. The conversion may be performed with an appropriate conversion factor. For example, a unit of time in a first wagering game, such as a Monopoly Big Event, may be worth two units of time in a second wagering game, such as Big Bang. A standard unit of event eligibility-based equity may be utilized to simplify the conversions of such equity between wagering games. A player would then store standard units of event eligibility-based equity in an electronic account, on a ticket, on a smart card, and the like which can be readily used later. Each wagering game would then be worth a certain number of standard units. The ratio between a first and second wagering game would then determine the conversion factor between a first and second event eligibility-based equity.
In an alternative embodiment of a gaming system, players may earn partial or fractional eligibility for a bonus or secondary event. In some embodiments, future or secondary events may be progressive jackpots, prizes, awards, secondary games, or other events. As a player plays his or her wagering game, he or she may be awarded eligibility portions or fragments such that when a full eligibility group of assets is collected, the player becomes eligible for such future event. In one embodiment, the fractional eligibility may be tracked, for example by a virtual game card stored and/or displayed on a gaming terminal. The virtual game card, in one embodiment, may be a virtual “scratch-off” card, containing number of slots or “ticks” which may be earned during game play to complete the card and earn eligibility for the relevant future event. For example, the virtual game card may have five slots or ticks. During game play, certain events may cause the player to earn an eligibility fragment, which fills one of the five slots on the virtual card. When the player has played long enough to earn and collect five eligibility fragments, his or her virtual card becomes filled, as all five slots on the card are occupied. Once filled, the virtual card indicates to the player that he has satisfied or completed eligibility for the future event.
Various mechanisms may be employed in each wagering game that cause the player to be awarded one or more eligibility fragments. In one embodiment, the player may be awarded a number of eligibility fragments in response to achieving a certain outcome on a gaming device. The outcome may be randomly determined, for example a winning combination of symbols on a slot game as determined by a random number generator. In other embodiments, the outcome may be determined, at least in part, by player selection. For example, a player choosing selectable elements in a wagering game to reveal prizes, may trigger an award of an eligibility fragment if a certain pattern or order of selectable elements is chosen. In yet other embodiments, the award of eligibility fragments may be random. For example, the gaming system may award a certain number of eligibility fragments to various players either at various intervals of time, or when certain thresholds (unknown to the player) are met. The eligibility fragments may also be awarded via tournaments, casino promotions, or any other gaming mechanism in which the fragments are awarded as prizes, either alone, or in combination with other awards, credits, cash, or prizes. Other awarding mechanisms may be used in which to distribute eligibility fragments to players of the gaming system.
The gaming system may track each player's collection of eligibility fragments and associated completed eligibility for future events. In one embodiment, such tracking may be accomplished by monitoring a player through a player card or identifier associated with a player account. Thus, each player having registered for a player account may be identified at each gaming session via such player card or other identifier (such as username, biometric identifier, etc.). Once identified, the actions of the player are tracked during the gaming session by the system, and the player's collection of eligibility fragments is monitored, stored, and cataloged for future recall.
In some embodiments, a plurality of future events may be scheduled to be executed, either at predefined times, or randomly. For example, in one embodiment, a plurality of regularly occurring future events may be configured, and advertised or promoted to players. In one embodiment, future events may include a schedule of future events such as hourly events, quarter hour events, daily events, weekly events, monthly events, and yearly events. Eligibility for each event may be different, such that an hourly event may require five eligibility fragments to be collected, while a daily event may require fifteen such fragments to be collected. Additionally, eligibility fragments themselves may be uniquely associated with certain types of future events. For example, a first type of eligibility fragment may be associated with hourly events, and thus may only be collected and used on a virtual card to satisfy eligibility for an hourly event, while a second type of eligibility fragment may be associated with daily events, and thus may only be collected and used on a virtual card to satisfy eligibility for a daily event. All such scheduled future events may include any of the aforementioned activities, including the award of a progressive jackpot, a prize, a credit amount, entry into a secondary game, etc.
The various future events may be stored, displayed, and coordinated via one or more calendars which are accessible and viewable by a player via a gaming terminal, computer, over the internet, or via a mobile device. Such a calendar may display all available upcoming future events, as well as a player's accumulated eligibility for each such event. Thus, a player may look to such a gaming calendar to see which future events he is eligible for (ones for which he has accumulated the requisite number of eligibility fragments), and event for which he has not yet satisfied eligibility (for example, events for which the player has only accumulated a portion of the requisite number of eligibility fragments). This calendaring mechanism may induce or incentivize a player who has not yet qualified for a certain future event, to become so qualified by playing additional wagering games in an effort to collect more eligibility fragments and satisfy the eligibility requirements of such desirable future event.
In one embodiment, if a player satisfies eligibility for a first future event by collecting a sufficient number of eligibility fragments, such future event becomes closed or satisfied. It may appear as a special color (for example, green) on the player's virtual calendar to indicate that the player is eligible for the future event when it occurs. In other embodiments, when eligibility is completed, the future event remains “open” and a player can continue to collect eligibility fragments for such event. If a player satisfies the eligibility criteria a second time (collects the requisite number of eligibility fragments a second time), then the player remains eligible for the future event, but is given an award enhancement for having satisfied eligibility twice. In one embodiment, the award enhancement is a multiplier, for example a 2× multiplier, such that any awards which the player receives via the future event would be multiplied by two. In other embodiments, other enhancements may be provided, such as additional selections, wild symbols, multiplying wilds, bonus credit amounts, longer time in play, etc.
In an additional alternative embodiment, two or more players may be combined into groups, teams, pools, etc., such that the group's collection of eligibility fragments is pooled. Thus, a player may have an individual virtual card and virtual calendar, and any group of which he is a member may have its own collective group virtual card and virtual calendar. All players in the group may collect eligibility fragments and thus cause the group to become eligible for various future events. Any member of the group can track the group's progress via the group virtual calendar. When the group participates in a future event, such as receiving a progressive award, the award may be split among the members of the group in various ways. In one embodiment, each member of the group shares equally in the award. In another embodiment, the group members may share pro rata based upon the number of eligibility fragments collected over a certain period of time. In yet another embodiment, the players collecting the fragments for the particular event which led to the award may receive a bonus or enhancement as compared to a non-contributing group member's share of the award. Other schemes may be used to distribute the award winnings to the members of the group.
In yet another alternative embodiment, eligibility fragments may have a plurality of variables or characteristics associated with them. For example, eligibility fragments may be associated with a color (e.g. “red”) as well as a number (e.g. “3”). When a player earns such a multi-variable eligibility fragment, he or she may use the eligibility fragment in an appropriate manner based on the variables. With respect to the example multi-variable eligibility fragment described, the player could fill a “red” slot on a virtual game card, or alternatively the player could fill a “3” slot on a virtual game card. Thus, the player may select from the available variables associated with the fragment in applying the fragment to one or more virtual cards the player must fill. The plurality of variables or characteristics associated with an eligibility fragment invokes strategic play and provides a player with a choice as to how to apply the eligibility fragment. Any number of variables may be used, including shape, color, size, date, time, numbers, letters, etc. In some embodiments, the virtual cards the player needs to fill are predetermined by the gaming operator. In other embodiments, a player may have input as to the type, nature and configuration of the virtual cards which he will be playing.
In operation, the system of such an embodiment induces prolonged, additional, and repetitive game play by players who are seeking to complete eligibility for various bonus games, jackpots, awards, and other future events by collecting the requisite eligibility fragments. This provides additional excitement to the player and generates additional game play and revenue for the casino or system operator. The calendaring function provides even greater incentive by allowing easy visual inspection of upcoming events and a player's accumulated eligibility for the same. Such a system is beneficial in that more players are participating more frequently in such secondary or future events, although not winning each time, but winning periodically or randomly while enjoying play of wagering games and accumulation of eligibility.
Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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|1||International Search Report, PCT/US2008/012426, dated Jan. 9, 2009, 6 pages.|
|2||International Written Opinion, PCT/US2008/012426, dated Jan. 9, 2009, 5 pages.|
|International Classification||G07F17/32, G06F17/00, G07F17/34|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3258, G07F17/3213, G07F17/34, G07F17/3244, G07F17/32, G07F17/3223|
|25 Feb 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MASTROPIETRO, MICHAEL W.;REEL/FRAME:035028/0296
Effective date: 20080515
|29 Jul 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0464
Effective date: 20150629